WATFORD v MANCHESTER UNITED: Match Preview, Team News, Stats & In-dept Analysis

Quick Match Facts
– Manchester United have won the last nine matches in all competitions against Watford, with the Hornets’ last win coming back in September 1986, 1-0 at home in the league.
– Wayne Rooney has scored three goals in two appearances against Watford in all competitions.
– The Hornets have suffered just two defeats in their last nine league outings at Vicarage Road, winning four and drawing three.
– Man Utd have lost one of their last eight Barclays Premier League matches (W5 D2).
– Louis van Gaal’s side have now gone five matches in all competitions without conceding a goal (555 mins). They last enjoyed a longer run of clean sheets between the end of 2004/05 and start of 2005/06 (six matches in total).
– Wayne Rooney needs one more goal to become Manchester United’s outright second-highest-scorer in all competitions. He is currently tied with Denis Law on 237, 12 behind Bobby Charlton.
– Man Utd have the best chance conversion rate of any team in the BPL this season (20%).

Preview: Watford v United
Scene-Setter:

Before the international break, Manchester United made it seven matches without defeat in all competitions as Jesse Lingard’s first goal for the club and a late Juan Mata penalty defeated West Bromwich Albion in the Barclays Premier League. The Reds will be aiming to enhance a mixed record on the road so far this season – three wins, two defeats and a draw – by securing victory over Watford this weekend. Louis van Gaal’s side currently lie in fourth place in the table, two points behind the leaders.

Form Guide :

United have been very resilient lately, going over nine hours of football without conceding a goal in all competitions since the Champions League away draw against CSKA Moscow on 21 October. Scoring has been more challenging but, after three consecutive goalless draws last month, the Reds have returned to winning ways in the last two games (against CSKA and West Brom). Watford are 11th in the table after losing 2-1 to Leicester City in their last outing. In the two games before that, the Hornets claimed back-to-back victories away to Stoke City and at home to West Ham United. But Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have struggled for goals at home, scoring just three in six games at Vicarage Road.

Team News :

Michael Carrick is set to miss the clash after picking up an ankle injury during the international break in England’s defeat to Spain, while Anthony Martial was substituted with a foot injury as France lost to England on Tuesday. Antonio Valencia is out after undergoing surgery on his foot but James Wilson is nearing a return, while United will assess Chris Smalling and Marouane Fellaini ahead of the game, with the pair both picking up knocks in the last two weeks and the latter sitting out both of Belgium’s friendlies. Paddy McNair and long-term absentee Luke Shaw both remain on the sidelines, with Shaw continuing his rehabilitation from a broken leg. Ashley Young will hope to feature against the club with whom he spent over a decade; the winger has fond memories of Vicarage Road as he played a key role in Watford’s promotion to the Premier League in 2006.

Watford midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado is doubtful due to a hamstring injury he suffered at the start of October, while Swedish defender Joel Ekstrand is yet to feature this season as he recovers from a cruciate ligament injury. Former United youngster Craig Cathcart could face his old club for the second time since leaving in 2010. The defender headed the opening goal as Blackpool went 2-0 up at home against the Reds in January 2011, only for the visitors to stage a trademark late comeback and win 3-2.

View from the dressing room: “A lot of people wrote them off at the start of the season but they’re a team that works hard and gets players on the ball, and they score goals. It’s the club where I started and learnt my trade and, hopefully, it’ll be a nice reception… a better one than I get at Aston Villa anyway!” – Ashley Young.

Trivia :

Watford haven’t beaten United in the Premier League era and, in the sides’ last meeting at Vicarage Road in August 2006, goals from Mikael Silvestre and Ryan Giggs secured a 2-1 away win. You have to go back another 20 years to find the Hornets’ last victory over the Reds, in September 1986, when Welsh forward Iwan Roberts scored a last-minute winner in one of Ron Atkinson’s final few games as United boss. This fixture usually provides goals with 14 meetings since the last 0-0 draw.

Danger Men :

Watford : Odion Ighalo.

The obvious choice is Watford’s leading goalscorer and only Leicester’s Jamie Vardy can better his tally of seven Barclays Premier League goals this term, which have been worth nine points alone to the Hornets. The Nigerian striker moved to Vicarage Road in July 2014 from Italian Serie A side Udinese on an initial loan, but made his move permanent three months later and has enjoyed a rich vein of form ever since. The pacy forward has scored 23 times in the 2015 calendar year so far and netted a brace in Watford’s last home game, their 2-0 victory over West Ham on 31 October. He has bagged 64 per cent of the Hornets’ goals this season, a statistic which underlines their reliance on him.

United : David de Gea.

Might leave people jaw-dropped, but coupled with Mike Smalling Leadership, United’s back line is beginning to show that it would take more than individual brilliance to get a goal past them all this season. Louis van Gaal’s side have now gone five matches in all competitions without conceding a goal (555 mins). They last enjoyed a longer run of clean sheets between the end of 2004/05 and start of 2005/06 (six matches in total).

Officials :

Robert Madley takes charge of his first-ever United game. The West Yorkshire-based official has shown 41 yellow cards and three reds in his 11 games this season.
Match Appointments
Referee: Robert Madley Assistants: M McDonough, M Perry Fourth Official: A Taylor

 

Form Guide :

Watford

Head Coach Enrique Sanchez Flores

Last six matches

lost 2 – 1 v Leicester (A) 07 Nov 2015
won 2 – 0 v West Ham (H) 31 Oct 2015
won 0 – 2 v Stoke (A) 24 Oct 2015
lost 0 – 3 v Arsenal (H) 17 Oct 2015
drawn 1 – 1 v Bournemouth (A) 03 Oct 2015
lost 0 – 1 v Crystal Palace (H) 27 Sep 2015

 

Man Utd

Manager: Louis Van Gaal

Last six matches

 

won 2 – 0 v West Brom (H) 07 Nov 2015
drawn 0 – 0 v Crystal Palace (A) 31 Oct 2015
drawn 0 – 0 v Man City (H) 25 Oct 2015
won 0 – 3 v Everton (A) 17 Oct 2015
lost 3 – 0 v Arsenal (A) 04 Oct 2015
won 3 – 0 v Sunderland (H) 26 Sep 2015

 

Last corresponding meeting

Sat 26 Aug 2006 | Vicarage Road | Attendance: 19,453

Watford 1 – 2 Man Utd

 

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